The Copper Tones

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The Copper Tones write music that makes a bar room jukebox smile. A modern take on old time music -- perfect tunes to peel a frosty beer label to. Grab a cold one AND SPIN THE COPPER TONES.

Who are your biggest musical influences at the moment?

Stefanie: At the moment I would say Alabama Shakes, Trampled by Turtles, Shakey Graves, and Shovels and Rope. I think those artists have a unique-ness to their sound, while staying true to the roots which is something I really strive for in my songwriting. 

Daniel: Lately I’ve been listening to Joe Satriani, The Yardbirds, ELO, Kansas, Rush, Dream Theater, and Triumph. A lot of that is pretty progressive, which I have loved that genre since I was in middle school. For whatever reason, I have been back on a real progressive kick lately.

Andy: I’ve always been influenced by jazz, punk, and metal music. My current influence would have to be The Delta Bombers. They came across my playlist and I’ve been stuck with them. There blues/country/rockabilly sound makes me want to get back into the old roots of music and bring it back again. 

Dyllan: Old and In the Way, Devil Makes Three, Greensky Bluegrass, Bob Wayne and Hank 3.

What is your songwriting process like? 

Dyllan: I usually start with a single verse and then figure out my melody. I live on a river so I go down to the water and usually the rest of the song just flows out naturally in 10 to 20 minutes. It happens very suddenly.

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Stefanie: I generally start off writing down random thoughts and construct them into lyrics. Once I have the lyrics kinda figured out, I'll go to the guitar or piano and play random chords to find a rhythm I think fits with the lyrics. Then, I usually mess with that to find a progression and melody that I like. It's a very drawn-out process for me haha but eventually it all comes together. I've always admired how quickly Dyllan writes songs. We're starting to write together now and it helps to have another set of ears. 

Daniel: For me it has always started with a riff, since I am not a singer or lyricist. When I get a really killer guitar riff, I know I can build a great song around it. From there I like to show it to the rhythm section and see what type of groove they feel off it, because a lot of times it can be different than what I imagined and that’s a nice surprise. Once the vocalist joins the process, from there I try to let the vocals dictate the flow, because even if it starts with a riff, the song will usually center around the voice if you want a great finished product.

Andy: If I ever wrote a song, I would gladly tell you my process, lol. I have pages of stuff but I could never really get a song from it.

Where do you see your music career in three years?

Stefanie: I would love for The Copper Tones to be signed to an indie label and be touring around the world, creating and recording as much as possible and connecting to people through our music. That's the dream (and hopefully the reality as well.) 

Daniel: I hope that in 3 years I am still playing as many shows as I am now, in as many places around the world as possible! It brings me great joy to spread my original music to as many people as possible, seeing new places, etc. I also love the recording process just as much. I would like to think that 3 years from now, my body of work will have grown a lot, and there will be many more studio releases, whether full length albums or whatever else. Recording music is a different experience than performing live, and to me what is special about it is that you create something you’ll have forever, and likely lasts even longer than you.

Andy: In 3 years, I would like to see my music career progress into playing more shows. Small or big act shows, as long as I’m playing and everyone is enjoying the music, I’m content.  

Dyllan: I hope I'm writing music to play in front of people that enjoy it. I don't need a lot just enough money and time to be happy and enjoy myself.

Jess Bishop

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Jess Bishop writes timeless songs for modern souls. Her words are true and her voice is pure -- offering a pleasing and thought-provoking listening experience. We asked her 3 questions. Here are her answers:

Who are your biggest musical influences at the moment?

I grew up listening to artists like John Martyn, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan who I still regularly listen to now. 

I’ve also recently been introduced to some amazing current artists like Sharon Van Etten, Daniel Norgren, Aldous Harding and Nils Frahm. My favourite track to listen to at the moment is ‘Every time the Sun Comes Up’ by Sharon Van Etten. I love the rawness of her lyrics and her vocals are effortless.

What is your songwriting process like?

I used to always write the lyrics to a song first then play around with melodies and chord patterns afterwards but now it’s generally the other way round. I’ll write a chord progression, sing a melody and then the lyrics just seem to flow after that.

I definitely go through seasons with my songwriting where I’ll hate everything I’m writing, which sometimes goes on for months, then a few songs that I’m really happy with will all come at once. This used to really stress me out but I’ve learnt to just accept that I’m having a dry patch and know that it won’t last forever!

Where do you see your music career in three years?

I think it’s really difficult to put a time limit on when you want to achieve certain things but I guess I’d love to be recording my third album, after my second album hopefully being a success, which I am recording this October.

I love playing live so I‘d like to have built a big-enough fan base to be touring internationally as the headline act. Like a lot of artists, one of my ambitions is to play on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.... but three years might be a bit ambitious for that. We shall see! Watch this space :)

Paul Levinson

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Paul Levinson writes songs that are catchy and colorful. With a storied career that includes working with songwriting legend Ellie Greenwich, Levinson released folk and pop gems in the sixties and seventies. Fans of Simon and Garfunkel, Del Shannon, Brian Hyland, Spanky and Our Gang, The Zombies, The Vogues, and Strawberry Alarm Clock will love listening to Paul Levinson. We asked him 3 questions. Here are his answers:

How did you get into songwriting and connect with legends like Ellie Greenwich?

I started writing songs - mostly lyrics but sometimes with music - when I was 16 years old in 1963.  I wrote one of them- "The Park at Night," a hopelessly out of date doo-wop song even then, in 1963, with a guy I knew since kindergarten, Paul Gorman.  His father believed in us and brought us into the studio to record a demo (with me singing lead).  Here it is on Spotify

A year later, Gorman and I formed a doo-wop group (still out of date), The Transits.  (I wrote a short story about this - "The Harmony" - published in a bunch of places including here.)   The group broke up when our lead singer Dave disappeared (like in Eddie and Cruisers). 

I formed a folk-rock trio, The New Outlook, with two of the guys in The Transits - Stu Nitelkman and Ira Margolis.  Stu and I soon started writing songs together.  The New Outlook was singing in Central Park one sunny Spring afternoon in 1967, when a couple walked by, stopped, listened, and introduced themselves after a while - they were Ellie Greenwich and Mike Rashkow. 

They took us into the studio and recorded a couple of of our songs - including one for which I wrote the lyrics, and Stu the music, If Leaves Fall Tomorrow, which you can hear here on Spotify.  They changed our name to The Other Voices, signed us to Atlantic Records.  We released two singles, which sold maybe one copy.

What is your songwriting process like?

Ideas come into my head all the time for lyrics - the same for stories and novels (I have seven novels and fifty stories published).  I used to scribble them down on paper.  Now I just make a note on my iPhone.  Sometimes a tune comes up in my head with the lyrics - like with "Today Is Just Like You".  Other times, it's just the lyric, or even the title.

In the case of  "Looking for Sunsets (In the Early Morning)" I came up with the title, mentioned it to Ed Fox - this was 1969, The New Outlook had discbanded, and Ed and I were writing songs - and in the case of Sunsets, Ed sat down at the piano, I was standing next to him, and he wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics in about five minutes.

Other times, I'll send off complete lyrics to someone who writes the music - that's the way Alpha Centauri was writing (Peter Rosenthal wrote the music after I gave him the complete lyric - he played guitar on some of The New Outlook and all the recordings I made with Ed Fox). We wrote Alpha Centauri by the way, in 2000 - I sent Peter the lyrics in email, he sent me back the song with music the same way, and I finally got around to adding the vocal in 2010.

Do you have any favorite memories of being a working songwriter in the sixties?

Here's my favorite: I was writing a song - words and music - which began, "Hiding behind a raindrop, shyly opening her sweet milk chocolate eyes..." And I couldn't come up with another line.  One day I was on a bus, fell asleep, and dreamed that Paul McCartney was sitting next to me.  I sang him those lines.  He said, here's your next line, man - "Sliding behind the same drop..."  I woke up and wrote some more of the song.  That was in 1969 - I still haven't finished it. 

My second favorite story:  Ed Fox was reading a newspaper, and headline of a story was "The Lama Will Be Late This Year".  We looked at each other, and wrote the song (I wrote the lyrics and Ed the music).  The great thing about songwriting is all you need is a word or two, and you're off and running/writing.